'Party of Five' Revival Pilot Focusing on Immigration Set at Freeform

Disney's Freeform greenlit a Party of Five reboot pilot, which puts a modern twist on the story — instead of deceased parents, the lead characters are dealing with their parents' deportation, Deadline reports.

“Twenty-five years ago, we imagined a story about five kids navigating the world after the untimely death of their parents,” executive producers Amy Lippman and Christopher Keyser said in a statement released by Freeform. “Today, stories of families being separated, children having to raise themselves in the wake of their parents’ deportations, don’t require any imagination; they are everywhere. This new iteration of ‘Party of Five’ isn’t a retread of the original; it’s a whole new look at kids trying to parent each other in the wake of circumstances beyond their control, yet learning a similar lesson: that families persist no matter how great the obstacles.”

The original Party of Five was created by Keyser and Lippman, and centered on five siblings whose lives are changed after their parents are killed in a car accident. The children were played by Scott Wolf, Matthew Fox, Neve Campbell and Lacey Chabert. The youngest sibling began as a toddler, and was played by Jacob Smith for the last two seasons.

The original series aired on Fox from 1994 to 2000 and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television. Party of Five also won the 1996 Best Television Series - Drama Golden Globe. Jennifer Love Hewitt's character Sarah earned a one-season spin-off called Time of Your Life in 1999.

The new Party of Five will tell the story of the five Buendias siblings whose parents are deported to Mexico, leaving them in the U.S. to fend for themselves. The pilot was written by Lippman and Keyser with Michal Zebede (Castle). Rodrigo Garcia (Nine Lives) will direct, and the quartet will also executive produce.

"From the moment we heard that Amy and Chris were updating their iconic series with this timely and powerful twist, we knew we had to have this pilot. We’re honored to be the home for the next, brilliant iteration of their vision,” added Karey Burke, Freeform’s executive vice president of Programming and Development.

Development on the Party of Five reboot started in September 2017, and it landed at Freeform in January.

During an episode of Watch What Happens Live, Campbell endorsed the reboot idea as "very timely."

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"From what I understand [after speaking to series co-creator] Chris Keyser...they're doing it with a Mexican family whose parents have been sent across the border, and they have to figure out how to stay together and be a family and raise each other. I think that's really poignant and important, and I'm really impressed," Campbell explained. "So if they want me to come and support somehow and do a scene in it, I probably would."

Photo credit: Fox